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Has anyone have to use travel/medical/evacuation insurance?

Has anyone have to use travel/medical/evacuation insurance?

Jul 19th, 2008, 07:31 AM
  #1  
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Has anyone have to use travel/medical/evacuation insurance?

I had to go to a hospital for a few hours in Peru using AIG Travel Guard Travel Insurance. I had to pay upfront. When I tried to file a claim I found out that since I didn't get a medical upgrade (I didn't know there was one) I had to file it through my primary health insurance first and AIG will pay what my insurance doesn't pay.

I find that it's a lot of work. I'm going to Thailand and Nepal (3 - 4 day hike to Anapurna) at the end of the year and this unfortunate experience told me I needed to get an insurance for that.

I would like to know if anyone has the experience of using their medical/evacuation insurance and how hard or easy it is to file a claim or even not having to file at all (not having to pay upfront, the insurance pays the hospital directly). Which company do you recommend and why?

Thank you
Susie
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 08:45 AM
  #2  
 
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you might also look at the insurance offered by DAN---the divers assist group
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 08:59 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi, in 1993, I had Travel Insurance with a company called Bon Voyage. I was travelling alone, going where I wanted when I wanted. While walking down a hillside toward a beach on an island off the north coast of Spain, I fell. (Lesson: don't be distracted by gorgeous nudists on a beach!) I heard an ominous CRACK as I fell. Turned out I'd broken my leg in four places. The insurance covered me for all of the following, without any payment upfront or later from me. Red Cross rescue boat back to the mainland and six (gorgeous) young men with a stretcher to get me to the boat, ambulance to the hospital, six days stay in the hospital (no picnic, no surgery, just a temporary caste) a nurse flown out from England to accompany me back to Canada via England, 3 first class seats for the nurse, me and my outstretched leg to Madrid then London, an ambulance to a private hospital outside London for the night (nice place!), another ambulance ride back to Heathrow and first class seats on British Airways back to Vancouver, where I presume my BC health insurance kicked in for the subsequent stay in hospital.

Bon Voyage is still in existence. I'm off to China in the fall and would have got travel insurance through them again except that they don't insure people over 64. Darn! Google them if you're interested. Sounds as if your insurance made it a real hassle. I was travelling alone. My sister in England did run interference with the company at one point. They were going to send me back to Canada alone, but she pointed out that as my leg was in a caste, I couldn't get into the airplane washrooms and had a catheter in and would require attention during the trip. There was a couple of extra days delay while they found a nurse to accompany me. She told me some horror stories of tourists in hospitals in Greece waiting for their insurance companies to do ANYTHING for them. It's good to have someone - either with you or wherever - who can help deal with the insurance company.

Good Luck! Have fun and don't have an accident!
shanghaisheila is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 09:05 AM
  #4  
 
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You don't say what country you're from, but I know that for Canadians, and in my experience, what you experienced is usual--i.e., the travel insurance picks up where the primary insurance leaves off.
WillJame is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 11:23 AM
  #5  
 
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I don't know where you are from, but if you live in the US, I'm not sure you'll be able to find a policy that pays medical expenses up front. Your own medical insurance policy is considred primary and typically must pay first. (There ar some exceptions to this, and it's always worth asking about.) Med Evac policies do make all arrangements for medical evacuation, so you don't pay for that up front (good thing - the typical medical evacuation costs in the $50,000 range).

So start by deciding exactly what you'd like your insurance to cover. Most travel policies are written to cover lots of things you may have no use for, but may be short on the features most important to you. I think med evac insurance is a must, both because it's expensive and because you don't want to mess around figuring out how to be med evaced if you need it. But read the fine print - some policies will automatically med evac you home, others will get you to the nearest appropriate facility. Some will fly a traveling companion with you, others require that your traveling companion find his/her own way to the facility you are taken.

I carry med evac insurance, but not travel medical insurance. My own medical insurance does cover urgent care in foreign countries. Read the fine print in yours so you know! I know I can pay for "routine emergencies" and be reimbursed later. If it was something catastrophic, I have credit card coverage that will advance the money to pay medical expenses.

For med evac, I use DAN - diversalternetwork.org Look under membership - not under insurance. Med Evac is coverd up to $100,000. For $40 some dollars per year for family coverage it's a real deal. It also comes with some support to find medical care in foreign countries.

It sounds like Shanghaisheila had a great experience with her insurance in a very unfortunate situation. I don't know whther that company is still around or whether they can still write a policy that comprehensive. Insurance regulations do change, and do vary from one country to another.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:00 PM
  #6  
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I looked at DAN individual and family membership and FAQs page. Here is what I found : DAN offers three different levels of insurance coverage: The DAN Standard Plan, The DAN Master Plan and The DAN Preferred Plan. All three levels are secondary insurance payable after your primary insurance.

Are these the plans you mentioned? Or am I looking at the wrong page?

Thanks,
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:06 PM
  #7  
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By the way, I'm living in the USA
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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Look under membership > individual and family >member benefits.

You'll see, near the top of the page, Exclusive Dan Member Benefits. The first item is 24 hour DAN Travel Assist

"As a DAN Member, you automatically receive DAN TravelAssist and up to $100,000 of evacuation assistance coverage. Effective for both diving and non-diving injuries, this benefit is provided by AIG Travel Assist, a world leader in emergency evacuation services. Your evacuation coverage begins when you are traveling at least 50 miles/80 km from home and call DAN TravelAssist to arrange your evacuation."

That's how I get my med evac insurance.

Farther down the page there is a list of member opportunities. Travel insurance is one of those. So they have travel insurance policies. I have never purchased one (or even really read it closely), so I cannot make any comment about it. This is apparently the insurance you found on the site, but was not what I was referring to.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:16 PM
  #9  
 
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we spent a few extra dollars to have the AIG Travel Guard medical insurance that is primary. It's their top coverage. I suggest calling and talking to an agent rather than booking online. The ones i spoke to were actually helpful and when the estimates were just a few dollars more for the premium coverage that included primary medical, the agent pointed out he thought it was worth it...and I agreed. Fortunately, I have never had to use it, which as far as I'm concerned really makes it a bargain!
alison is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:23 PM
  #10  
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Kathie,

I see that now

Is that the only insurance you have? Do you have anything else?

Thanks again!
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:32 PM
  #11  
 
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When I had an accident in Japan last year, I had three doctor visits there (one was in a hospital) and I paid up front as it was under $400 including xrays and some meds.

I collected from my trip insurance which was Travelex Travelite - that part of the policy covered emergency medical benefits up to $50,000. They never asked me about filing for reimbursement from my regular medical insurance - I'm sure that would have been an extreme hassle as everything was in Japanese.....
Mara is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:35 PM
  #12  
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I'm looking at AIG too. There are so many options my head spins
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:45 PM
  #13  
 
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Forgot to mention you can use insuremytrip.com to compare different companies and policies. That's the site I've used in the past.
Mara is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:54 PM
  #14  
 
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Susie, that is the only travel insurance I have.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 19th, 2008, 03:32 PM
  #15  
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Does it make sense to start the plan near the travel date or now? and why?

Thanks
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 03:35 PM
  #16  
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By the way, has anyone have to use DAN service while traveling?
susie2susie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 03:52 PM
  #17  
 
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It makes sense to do all of the research as soon as possible. Then you will know what you want to buy. Note that some travel insurance (usually the comprehensive trip interruption/cancellation etc) is less expensive if you buy it within 14 days of buying your plane tickets.

I have never used DAN's med evac (fortunately!) but I do know of at least one person who has and who had a good experience (and they were being med evaced from Nepal). Note that the med evac company they use is AIG Travel Assist, one of a number of reputable med evac services.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 19th, 2008, 06:45 PM
  #18  
 
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Has anyone used SOS International? It has been recommended to me, but after looking at the information on the DAN website, I am thinking of using DAN and not having all the other "bells and whistles" provided by a much more expensive SOS plan.


gailmo is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 12:39 PM
  #19  
 
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Kathie, the DAN insurance you mention at $44 per year for a family covers "both diving and non-diving injuries." But presumably it would not cover medical evacuation due to illness--which would be at least as necessary. I know the incidents mentioned in this thread are all accidents, but I have a family member and a colleague both of whom needed medical evacuation for illness while travelling within the past few years.
WillJame is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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will--please read again what kathie quoted to you...
rhkkmk is offline  

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